Hand of Fate

Epilogue II: No One's Daughter

53 Years After Order 66
The Unknown Regions

An archipelago of emerald sweeps over the deep crystalline ocean. Ahch-To is a planet wild and untouched by humanity, its many mountainous islands bearing witness to a place left by itself for millions of years. The Millenium Falcon cuts across the surface of the white-capped ocean, churning up spray as it comes in close to one of the rocky green islands for a landing.

As soon as the metal feet of the old Corellian freighter settle onto solid ground, the ramp releases and a small figure with a quarterstaff steps off the newly landed vessel, pausing at the foot of the steep gray and green mountain that makes up this particular island. She's a little breathless at the stunning scenery… it's all so alien to eyes acclimated to the desolation of Jakku.

The newcomer hesitates, a glimmer of uncertainty casting itself over her now that she's finally here. Refusing to hear her own doubts, she steels herself and sets her jaw. The weight of Luke Skywalker's lightsaber in the canvas bag she carries spurs her onward. She begins her climb.

This is Rey.

Rey No One, because as long as she can remember, it's just been her and the wastelands of Jakku, scavenging and surviving alone, repeating the days over and over again into an infinity of tedious and desolate life. But today, Rey No One is on a mission for the Resistance. Today, Rey No One is forging a new life for herself.

As she continues up steep stone paths that wind along a craggy green pass, Rey marvels at all the sights that are new to her: The crashing ocean below, moss covered rocks that drip, tender young plants unfurling from cracks in the ground, stocky little birds that peer at her with huge eyes before fluttering away with little shrieks… she smiles a little, momentarily given to awed admiration and reverence.

The air on this planet is different than anything she's ever experienced—it smells alive here and she inhales deeply, relishing the feeling. Damp, salty breeze leaves her exhilarated as her nerves continue to build. She can feel something… a small prick of recognition or knowing. That's what she's following upward.

A few days ago, everything changed out of the blue when BB-8 and Finn appeared, bringing trouble with them. Rey is still dazed by everything that's happened since.

Part of her, the scared little girl part, wants to go back to Jakku. It's not a place she loves—she actually quite hates it—but it is the place with which she's familiar. And it's the place she's waited almost ten years for a family who still hasn't come back. Rey's heart sinks as she ponders on it all. Maybe Maz Kanata was right… maybe no one is ever coming back for her.

It's a recurring thought she's struggled against over the years. Hope has always won out, no matter how small. She's always chosen to believe she was once loved and wanted, and that someone would come back for her. But today in this new place on a new path, she has to consider the nagging doubt. Maybe she really is no one's daughter. Maybe it really is just her. Rey No One.

She shoves the upsetting thought away and continues to climb. Her breaths become shorter as her leg muscles work hard to propel her up more and more stacked stone stairs. The dropoffs become steep and dangerous, promising a very long tumble if she takes a bad step. Her heart is beating faster and faster. She can feel it now… like honing in on a beacon. He's close. He's here.

Luke Skywalker.

The man that she spent all that time thinking a myth is real, and so is his story: the boy raised in secret by Darth Vader's arch nemesis, who then went on to defeat the Emperor and Vader. He started the New Jedi Order and tales of his bravery and leadership are known far and wide. That's why Rey has been sent: to bring Luke back to the Resistance so that he can rally the broken, scattered remaining Jedi against the First Order.

But there is one thing consistently bothering Rey: Why her?

I'm no one. Why would they send no one to do this?

A series of unlikely, fateful events skims through her mind, once again making her feel so unsure:

Running into Finn by chance at Niima Outpost….

Escaping in Han Solo's old ship (and learning this once they ran into the famed smuggler)…

Finding Luke's lightsaber at Maz Kanata's…

Coming face to face with Kylo Ren…

Seeing Han Solo die at the hand of his Dark Side corrupted son…

And somehow being able to hold Ren off the first time she ever ignited a lightsaber.

All of that, and now she's being sent by the Resistance to bring Skywalker back. It feels too important for some scavenger from Jakku. And yet they sent her. Leia had insisted, and had never quite answered when Rey asked "why me?" The princess had only smiled enigmatically and said, "trust me."

With an inhale that expands her lungs to full capacity, Rey reaches a summit and pauses, unsure where to go. She's come across a small village of rounded stone huts. A few of the local species—short and squat gray beings dressed in faded white—glance at her then resume their businesses of cleaning, sweeping, and tending to their homes. And Rey continues onward, following her feelings.

The green here is astounding. Mesmerizing even. Somehow, the rugged beauty reminds her of something… maybe a dream she had once. She swears she's seen a place like this before, a whole planet of lush green, deep waters, and peaceful beauty… the feeling is so profound that she can almost believe this isn't the first time her eyes have seen a place like this.

Some sort of majestic white bird swoops by just then, beating wings powerfully. Rey pauses to watch, captivated. There is so much wonder and beauty to behold. She refocuses herself and moves upward and onward once more, following the feeling leading her. She begins to worry again. What will I say to convince him to come back? He won't even come back for his sister Leia. Will he come back when he learns that Kylo Ren killed Han Solo? Rey shivers as a wave of sadness rolls over her. So much loss. So much darkness.

Rounding a small bend, Rey pauses, her breath punching out of her as she comes to an abrupt halt. Ahead at the topmost point of the steep incline before her, a lone figure stands with his back to her, hood up. It's him. She knows it before seeing him, and for a moment, she can't move. The legend himself. It's a feeling like recognition that comes over her. And she begins to drift toward him, her heart racing, skin gooseflesh.

The hero who brought the Empire to its knees. The man who trained a whole new generation of Jedi Knights. She isn't sure what to expect. What he'll look like. All she can feel is his energy, and it reminds her of something. It makes her feel.

When she's halfway up the hill, he begins to turn, and Rey fades to a stop, reverent and intimidated. He takes down his bone-colored hood slowly to reveal wild grayed hair, scarred skin, and a mechanical hand. He's a weathered looking white man in his fifties, and he startles her, but she's not sure why.

His expression, briefly surly, goes similarly startled after he's looked at her for a second. "Impossible…" Luke breathes, taking a few drifting steps toward her. He's peering at her as if trying to see through a mask or a disguise, even as she stares back and tries to figure him out. "Impossible!" he repeats in a soft, surprised tone. Then, there's sudden fear and mistrust. "Who are you?" he asks in a harder tone, appearing to bristle. For a minute, Rey thinks he might be able to attack her and she shrinks back a bit.

"…I'm Rey." He shrinks now, too, his expression odd. And not sure what else to do, Rey reaches into her bag carefully, feeling clumsy and foolish, making sure he knows she's not trying to do anything but show him what she's got. She pulls the glinting silver bar out and extends his weapon toward him with lessened confidence. He eyes the object warily and she extends it further, hopefully. "I've come to give you back what you lost." This wasn't how she imagined the exchange to go.

There's an absolutely strange look on his face, and his eyes go to the weapon, then her. He comes a little closer, and Rey realizes he's as taken aback by her as she is by him. But why? "Yes you have," he agrees slowly. He evaluates her a second longer, then carefully takes the weapon from her, eyes searching hers. "Do you know who I am?"

Well of course she does. "You're Luke Skywalker."

That seems to irritate him. "No, I mean—do you know who I am?" he presses. There's a restrained emotion in his voice.

Rey is confused. Is this some kind of test? "I don't understand."

He draws back a bit, looking at her with an expression that's hard to read. Sad? Resigned? "I see." He looks at his gleaming lightsaber hilt, and several emotions faintly register as his eyes travel the length and fingers curl around its edges. Sadness. Fondness. Hurt. He looks at it for a long moment, then back at her. His sharpness and guard returns. "Where did you get this?" he asks carefully. "Who gave it to you?"

"Maz Kanata."

His face screws up. "How the hell did she get it?" he asks, mostly to himself.

Rey feels urgency. They can have these conversations en route to D'Qar. "Master Skywalker," she says firmly, repeating the lines she's practiced in her head: "The First Order will control all the major systems within weeks. We need your help. We need the Jedi Order back. We need Luke Skywalker."

He stiffens and glances at her darkly. "Luke Skywalker is a failure." He turns and walks off a few steps, brooding. "He came to this island to die." He mumbles to himself. "But he also didn't expect a ghost to appear, five years into exile, no—it's a sign, it has to be a sign." Is he talking to himself or to her? He must not be very good with people.

It doesn't matter. Rey marches over and turns him by the shoulder as she tries to get eye contact. "I'm sorry Master Skywalker, I—" he looks positively dangerous and she pulls her hand away, realizing she's not good with people, either. Embarrassed but resolute, she pushes her chin forward. "I'm here to request you come back. We need you."

Luke remains guarded, his enigmatic eyes scanning over her perceptively. "Who's 'we'?"

"The Rebel Alliance. Leia." Rey pauses, her voice catching. "Ben Solo."

Luke's reaction is visceral—he looks acidic. "Ben Solo?" he asks darkly. "You mean Kylo Ren. Ben Solo is gone."

That's the thing. Rey shakes her head. "I don't think so." It's a feeling she cannot shake. The first time she looked into his eyes as he held her captive on Starkiller Base, she saw it there in the brown depths: A scared boy. A desperate soul. Someone who can be saved. She believes it fully and unwaveringly and says so. "Despite everything… I sense good in him."

Luke turns to give her full attention, the intensity in his voice frightening. "That is a dangerous path to go down, Rey…" he warns. His eyes are oceans of sorrow. "Hope will destroy you."

Rey meets his gaze bravely, even though it's difficult. "I'm well aware."

He frowns. "What do you mean?"

She boldly studies his faded blue eyes a little longer. "I know lonely eyes when I see them."

Luke's reaction isn't what she expected. He clenches his jaw, appears to squash down emotion in favor of anger, then roughly stalks past her, his cloak whipping with a snap in the wind. "The time for an evening meal is now," he barks. "Join me." It's not a suggestion. It's a command. Rey considers, then trots after the quickly stalking Jedi Master. At least he didn't send her away. Maybe he'll hear her out yet. Maybe she really can get him to come with her.

He sets a fast pace, somehow having a much easier time than Rey does on the rocky ground as they pick their way back to the village. Luke leads her into a small hut that he must reside in—it has a small bare cot, a table with old tomes and writing utensils. Not much else. He builds a fire in the center of the space and heats some sort of stew in a small, dinged up pot. He throws constant glances at her the whole time after barking at her to "sit!"

Rey lets him cook and decides to wait to press further. She tries to learn about him by looking at what he keeps in his home, but it's so barren. So bleak. She doesn't glean much except what she can sense from him: he's upset. Jaded. Wary. And something else.

They sit cross-legged opposite of each other once the stew is ready, and eat from a small, low table he pulls out from under his more regular sized one. The first bite and Rey is quickly informed by her tastebuds that she will not enjoy this meal. It's bland and fishy and pungent all at once. But it's sustenance, and she makes no complaint. "How is it?" Luke asks, then tries his and makes a disgusted face, letting his self-disappointment be known. "Ugh. It's terrible."

Rey is already shoveling in another spoonful and talks through the food. "I don't mind. I'll eat anything."

Luke eyes her, seeming to take a different meaning from her words. "Yes, yes you will won't you." There's something in his eyes that makes her stop.

Rey pauses and sets her bowl down and wipes at her mouth with the back of a sleeve. "I'm sorry Master Skywalker, is something wrong?" she asks, her senses clear and strong, telling her all about his very loud feelings. "I sense… pain. Confusion."

Luke eyes her cautiously. "I could say the same of you," he says, then sets his bowl aside too, considering and studying her for a long few seconds. "Do you know where Kylo Ren came from? Has anyone told you?" he asks. Rey faintly shakes her head no. All she knows is that he was once Han and Leia's son. "He was my student," Luke reveals weightily. "Him and his sister both."

Rey's eyebrows go up on both new pieces of information. "Sister?" she repeats. "What sister?"

It's Luke's turn to look confused. "No one told you about her?"

Mildly embarrassed, Rey supposes maybe she should be honest. "I'm new." To the Resistance. To life off of Jakku. To talking to people at length. To everything.

Luke contemplates a moment, then begins to explain what she doesn't know about. "Jaina Solo. Han and Leia's first-born." His voice is heavy and sad, telling Rey of a world of pain. "She and Ben fell to the darkness together," he remembers, his eyes seeing faraway things that anguish him. "My wife was there when it happened. They killed her when she tried to stop them. And then they brought my Jedi Temple to the ground and scattered the Order like ashes in the wind." He's looking down with slumped shoulders that have certainly carried the weight of the galaxy on them. Slowly, his eyes rise to meet hers. "The Dark Side is very powerful, Rey," he says, and his voice carries a power and truth that makes her feel cold. "Taking what was once beautiful and good and twisting it into a nightmare."

Rey is unsettled and empathetic. His feelings radiate off of him, making it hard to feel her own feelings. "I'm so sorry," she says earnestly, processing what he's told her. "I didn't know about Jaina. And I didn't know you were married, either."

Luke again seems to be seeing ghosts of the past. "Mara," he says, the single word filled with a love and longing that makes Rey feel the loss, too. "I couldn't protect her, and I couldn't protect my niece and nephew either. The things they've done since, the lives and blood on their hands… I've never forgiven myself. So before I could be responsible for more harm, I came here." Luke seems defeated and bereft. And Rey is beginning to understand.

When he says nothing else, Rey cautiously prompts him. "Where is Jaina Solo now?"

Luke is jaded and reluctant to discuss it. "She leads the Knights of Ren. She calls herself The Sword." Sickened, he looks down again. "She was never as powerful as her brother. And it's only a matter of time before she attempts to become more powerful. The resentment there is strong. Dangerous." He sighs, conquered by grief. "My bloodline is cursed. I'm glad I never had children." He looks so sad. "I really should have trusted my feelings," Luke continues, blank and numb now. "I was always unsure about being a Jedi. I went back and forth over the years on if it was my path or not." He gives a rueful shake of the head. "I understand my father's fears more than ever now."

Rey listens, more and more caught up in this mystery. "Your father, Anakin Skywalker? Darth Vader?"

Luke's eyes dart up. "Anakin Skywalker was my father, yes," he says, "but Obi-Wan Kenobi adopted and raised me." Affection steeps his tone. "That man was my true father, in every last way." The way he says that—the look in his eyes… Rey pines for such a father, and hangs onto every word. "He was afraid to teach me and my sister, he was very honest about his reservations when I was older." Luke grows reluctant once more. "Now I see why. What a terrible responsibility to have on your shoulders."

Trying to piece together timelines and understand more, Rey circles back. "You and your sister—so Obi-Wan taught you and Leia?"

This question causes Luke a very long pause, in which he will not meet her eyes. "No… I had another sister." The air seems to grow more still. "Obi-Wan's daughter." His voice lowers and weakens. His eyes meet hers, and he looks so pained he might be near tears. "She was lost."

Rey feels gripped. She's never heard this part of the story. "Lost?" she repeats, mesmerized in some terrible way.

Luke's eyes hold hers, a message in them she cannot decipher. "Lost." He grows sadder and distant. "Her mother never stopped believing she'd come back someday." Weary, longsuffering love softens his tenseness as his eyes see some far away face. "Sabé. My mother, too."

Something about this conversation scares Rey. Makes the hair on her arms stand up, makes her feelings and senses reel. And so she shakes her head, trying to shake the feeling away. She tries to refocus on bringing Luke back with her. "Listen, Ben Solo may have turned, and his sister too—I don't know about her, but Ben can come back. I've seen it. Felt it."

Luke contemplates her mildly. "Seen it how? Is the Force with you, Rey?" He almost seems to be challenging her.

She looses steam. "I… I'm not sure." And she isn't. As long as she can recall, she's been able to tell things about people. Been able to sense things coming. Been able to figure things out intuitively. Is that the Force?

Luke is trying to glean something from meeting her gaze. "You really think you can do something about all this, don't you?" he asks, then sits back, seeming to be mildly fascinated. "Well, maybe you can. But if you're looking for a teacher, it's not me. And I don't know what good it would do for me to go back to the Rebellion. What can one broken man with a lasersword do for this galaxy? I'm not a hero. I'm just Luke. A failed old bastard living on an island, waiting to rot away." He becomes petulant almost. "Let the worms eat me, that's the only use I'll ever be to anyone ever again." Something about his woe-is-me statement seems overly dramatic and Rey tries not quash an incredulous smiling laugh. While she manages not to laugh, Luke still sees her expression. "What?" he snaps.

It is somehow almost funny to her that he'd choose dramatics to cover up his true feelings. "You don't feel that way," she replies, wondering why he's trying to play such an act—she can feel the truth coming off him just like she can feel the cool, damp stone underneath her. "You want to help," she insists, and he looks caught. "More than anything. You know how important you are… you're just afraid to fail again." For a moment, she forgets she's talking to a near stranger. For a moment, she knows Luke inside and out.

He's stricken by her assessment. He stands up, appearing shaken. "Look, if it's a Jedi you need, there are others. Go ask them for help."

Rey stands too. "It's you we need," she insists vehemently. "Leia said the New Jedi Order fell apart when you left. Said the Resistance has limped ever since then."

Luke resists. "That's not my concern."

"Why not?" Rey asks, becoming a little angry at his dismissiveness. This wasn't the Luke Skywalker she's heard about.

Luke matches her rising ire. "It just isn't, okay?!" He whirls and exits his hut, leaving Rey to dash after him.

"They need their leader back!" she all but shouts, and Luke whirls.

"What kind of leader am I?" he retorts, throwing an arm out. "Look at what happened under my leadership!" He trembles, taking a moment. "I destroyed everything."

Rey doesn't believe that and shakes her head no, approaching him carefully. Maybe he's made mistakes. Maybe he's done things he wishes he could redo. But a total failure? She can't agree. "You don't have enough power to singlehandedly destroy everything. No one does." Luke is placated but brooding. Rey searches his eyes. Again, she feels a familiarity there. Like she's looked into them before. "Do you really think Ben is gone forever?" she asks quietly, because she doesn't believe that he truly does.

And sure enough, his eyes show the flickers of doubt. Of consideration. For a long moment, their gazes remain locked. "Until today, I thought people who were lost stayed lost," Luke finally replies, challenging her, calling out her. It rocks her to her core.

Rey decides to call his bluff, and does so while shaking. "You recognized me when you first saw me today, didn't you?" she asks, frightened to know the answer and watching his reaction to her question closely. "Didn't you?" He doesn't reply, but he doesn't have to. Rey can see that she's right and it scares her anew, making her feel very strange indeed. "Why would Luke Skywalker recognize me?" she whispers.

Luke is gruff, and brushes past her like he's going to back into his hut. "It's a very long story."

"Well I have time!" she points out a little emotionally, stopping him with her words. If he knows who she is… where she came from… she needs to know.

Instead of telling her anything, he turns slowly and asks a soft, measured question. "How old are you Rey?"

She's fractionally embarrassed. "Not exactly sure. Around twenty, I think."

Luke's eyes burn into hers, seeking answers of his own. "And where are you from?"

She isn't sure where he's going with this. "Jakku."

"Jakku?" he repeats, seemingly appalled. "How the hell did you end up there?"

She doesn't know. Her first clear memory is of watching a ship leave, and being sure her family was on it. "My family left me there," she whispers. It's embarrassing. It's devaluing. It's her greatest humiliation. What did she do to earn such a fate?

Luke is pained on her behalf. "Left you?" he repeats wretchedly, like he can't believe she would say such a thing. "How do you mean?"

Rey feels herself clamming up and becoming emotional. "I don't see how this is important, Master Skywalker," she says stiffly, starting to try and come up with a way to dodge this conversation.

He touches the side of her arm, drawing her gaze. "Trust me, it's very important." Something about the gentle way he says that and the touch of his hand whispers at her to tell him. She contemplates him a moment longer, surprised when her feelings tell her its safe.

It might be safe, but it's not easy. "I don't actually remember," she admits uncomfortably. "It's all… it's all very foggy." She has a hard time remembering things—she remembers nothing outside of vague, floating specters of memory before her first clear memory of seeing that ship fly away. "They say I was found outside of the Star Destroyer wreckage alone about ten years ago," Rey recalls, grief squeezing her throat into a chokehold. "I was suffering blindness and disorientation, and crying for… for my mother." She doesn't even remember her mother, but even mentioning the unknown woman sends a pang of soul-deep longing through Rey's heart. How can she want someone she doesn't even remember?

"So you do remember your parents," Luke supposes keenly.

Rey shakes her head once, eyes going off into the distance as she thinks. "Glimpses, maybe. I remember how they felt, more than how they looked…" Sometimes she has dreams where she can almost see their faces, almost remember the sound of their voices. Little snatches of memory. Sand, stone, brown hair, someone's smile, the sound of a man's laugh. Her father's? The feeling of safety. Of being loved. Of being held close. When she tries to press in to those memories, nothing comes of it. "It's like there's a wall there," she murmurs in a wavering voice. "And whenever I try to think back and remember… I just can't." Despite her best attempts, emotion causes her eyes to well, and a single tear to spill onto her cheek. "Why wouldn't they come back for me?" she asks a Jedi Master she doesn't know, as if he can explain it to her and put the fractured pieces back together for her.

"Maybe they didn't know where to look," Luke says, deeply empathetic. Is he teary eyed, too? "Maybe they didn't know you were even still alive." His words confuse her more. He steps a little closer, demanding her gaze. His faded eyes are still full of life and power, of knowing. "When you dig deep—when you really feel—who does your inner voice tell you that you truly are?" he asks.

Rey doesn't understand, and feels a degree of humiliation over this conversation. Is he playing with her? "No one."

Luke refuses to accept her answer. "Beyond that. Rey." He looks unflinchingly, widely into her eyes. "Who does the Force tell you that you are?"

Shaking her head, throat closing up as tears threaten to come more powerfully, she doesn't know what to say. There has never been an answer. Ever. "I don't know."

Luke stands back and eyes her with deep thought. Now that he's broken her down to sadness and insecurity, he seems resigned. Like he's preparing himself for something big. "I will go back to the Resistance with you on one condition," he announces, providing a surge of sudden elation to a low spirit.

She tempers her own surge of excitement and triumph. "What's the condition?" she asks, knowing better than to blindly agree.

Luke is somber. His feelings radiating off of him are strange. "You must first go with me to Tatooine."

Rey is immediately skeptical, physically taken aback. "Tatooine?" she repeats. "Why?"

Luke is somber. Meaningful. "I don't think I can help you remember who you are…" he says, then leaves her with chills when he speaks next: "But I know someone who can."

Author's Note: oh gosh. This was so exciting to write. I can't WAIT to finish the last epilogue…! ;)!